Family members of an elderly women under a court-ordered "do not resuscitate order" in an Orland Park assisted living center joined members of a local right-to-life group Saturday to protest the court decision, saying their "beloved aunt" should be kept alive by all means necessary.
"This is the dark side of probate court," said Jay Drabik, a nephew of 94-year-old Lydia Tyler, who remained heavily medicated and unresponsive in a room at the Brighton Gardens Assisted Living Center at 16051 S. LaGrange Road.
The case has echoes of the prolonged court battle over Terri Schiavo, in which family members feuded for seven years over whether Schiavo's feeding tubes should be removed as per the wishes of her husband.
In Tyler's case, her brother, James Drabik, and two other relatives authorized a court-appointed guardian to convene an "end-of-life" meeting for Tyler late last month, leading to the "do not resuscitate order," said Lynn Drabik, a niece who joined other protesters Saturday.
Relatives who want to keep Tyler alive dispute a doctor's finding that she is in a state of advanced Alzheimer's and not capable of living independently. Only a month ago, they say, Tyler held a birthday party and posed for pictures with family members.
Attempts to reach Tyler's brother, or an attorney representing him, were unsuccessful Saturday.
Meanwhile, protesters fear Tyler could die at any moment under the influence of strong narcotics meant to ease her into death without pain.
"Nobody wants her to be in pain, but you euthanize pets and animals, not people," said Jay Drabik.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Oy. Should we really point out the differences between a 94 year old unconscious alzheimer's patient with a DNR order and Terri Schiavo? Or should we just let this reporter slip in a divisive name in order to get the story some eyeballs? How can this be written as anything other than absurd -- all under the guise of fair reporting by representation of "both sides"? And at what point is the media irresponsibly sensationalizing death?
I find this to be some of the most irresponsible reporting -- and a frighteningly sad case. Does the niece expect her aunt to live to be 100? 110? Can death really be cheated? What kind of pain is the patient in? And what is the niece willing to do to prolong her aunt's death? How misguided is this "local right-to-life" group to take up this case with protests -- and to what end? And what good is a medical proxy when any family member or hospital administrator (as seen in other cases) can over-ride decisions? Isn't grieving and decision-making enough effort without protests? And why is the reporter irresponsible enough to allow the commenter to equate sedation with euthanasia?? Absolutely outrageous.
We can only hope that cases like this show the absurd belief we have fostered over the past few decades that humans can live forever; that doctors can perform miracles; that a DNR equals removal from life support or that it signifies anything other than compassion; that life, no matter how pained, frail, aged or afflicted, is worth "saving." And yeah, thanks for listing the address of the elder home.